Packaged foods specialist B&G Foods (NYSE:BGS) said second-quarter sales are soaring during the COVID-19 pandemic, rising 57.6% over the first eight weeks of the quarter compared to the same period last year and continuing the first quarter's strong performance.

Social distancing and stay-at-home orders have benefited the owner of brands such as Green Giant, Cream of Wheat, and Ortega, but the company isn't anticipating sales to maintain their torrid pace for the last month of the second quarter. B&G Foods says they'll be elevated, but at a more moderate level.

A plate of tacos surrounded by Ortega products.

Image source: B&G Foods.

Expect business to slow from here

According to B&G's preliminary, unaudited net sales data, the four-week period ending May 23 saw sales surge 50.5% to $160.1 million, an increase of $53.7 million. 

That rate of growth is in keeping with the pace set in the first month of the quarter as sales over the first two months of the quarter are $127.5 million above the same period last year, or $349 million.

B&G Foods is forecasting net sales for the full second quarter to be in the range of $510 million to $525 million, or between 37% and 41% higher than the $371.2 million it recorded last year.

How well the packaged foods company will be able to continue growing depends on how long and to what degree consumers remain locked down, whether there's a second wave of illnesses as some suspect could occur, and what impact the pandemic has on the economy.

B&G Foods stock is up 131% since the pandemic was declared, and trading at just under $25 a share, it is closing in on its 52-week high.